5 Fedor Emelianenko Wins to Watch Before Bellator 290
Fedor Emelianenko (40-6-1NC) will be fighting his final fight this weekend at Bellator 290. He will have an opportunity to retire from mixed martial arts as a champion if he can best current heavyweight champion Ryan Bader at The Kia Forum and have the storybook ending all fighters hope to achieve when it’s time to hang up the gloves. But Emelianenko’s career is something of a storybook already and he was asked about it on fight week leading up to Bellator 290.
When Emelianenko was asked about fights that stood out to him from his career, he answered; “ I can remember all my fights, no matter how fast they were. Some of them ended quickly, some didn’t. The most important and the first one that I remember still is the first fight with Antonio Nogueira for the belt in PRIDE.”
For those who remember, that fight was one of the most anticipated matches he had with PRIDE. In keeping in line with his reply, here are his top five most memorable matches.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira – PRIDE 25 2003
From Emelianenko’s own answer, this fight is the one that started what would be one of the greatest runs in heavyweight MMA. Both men were in their prime in a time where trash talk and social media would have no play in how fights happened. For all the finishes Emelianenko has on his record, his wins over Nogueira were by decision because Nogueira was just that good. Hard to disagree with Emelianenko on this one.
Mirko Cro Cop – PRIDE Final Conflict 2005
Probably one of the greatest rivalries from the days of PRIDE is that of Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic and Emelianenko. Both men did all their talking with their actions in the ring but with Cro Cop’s reputation as an elite-level striker and Emelianenko’s well-rounded game, everyone wanted to see these two fight. Another decision win for Emelianenko because he fought who was arguably the second pound-for-pound fighter at the time.
Mark Coleman – PRIDE 32 2006
Coleman is known as the man that started the “ground-and-pound” method of victory in MMA. Having won the 2000 Openweight Grand Prix in PRIDE and been a UFC Heavyweight Champion, fans would wonder how Emelianenko would do against someone like Coleman. He answered by submitting Coleman in the second round with an armbar. It would be the second submission by armbar between Coleman and Emelianenko and a win that further cemented him as one of the greats.
Kevin Randleman- PRIDE Critical Countdown 2004
You have probably seen this highlight on social media somewhere. In the first round, Randleman used his wrestling to lift Emelianenko in the air and drop him on his head. That usually means the end for most fighters, but not Emelianenko is not called the greatest heavyweight of all time for no reason. When he landed, he still had the sense to cinch up Randleman’s arm and roll him into a kimura submission, forcing the tap out from the man that just suplexed him. One of the most memorable submission victories of his career.
Andrei Arlovski- Affliction Day of Reckoning 2009
Affliction seemed to give Emelianenko what the UFC could not and if you were a heavyweight and wanted to fight the best heavyweight in the world, Affliction seemed to be the only place a fight like that could happen. Having been a former UFC champion, this fight was the one that was going to let fans know how good Emelianenko was. Arlovski to his credit had his moments in the fight, backing Emelianenko against the ropes but one miscalculated flying knee attack would cost him as Emelianenko’s overhand right would catch him mid-air, and end the fight with a knockout.
His record is compiled of 16 knockouts, 15 submissions, and nine decision wins. If there was a fight fans probably would have liked to have seen, it was probably Emelianenko versus Randy Couture who will be in attendance at Bellator 290 for “The Last Emperor’s” final fight of his career, that would have been something.
Emelianenko started his professional MMA career in 2000 and will be ending it Saturday night. The sport is as big as it has ever been, but it is also from what it was in the days of PRIDE and Emelianenko’s prime. A win would make for a great end to this story, but the story is already pretty great.
Edward holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Bachelor’s degree in Communications. Along with over 20 years martial arts experience, he co-hosts The Coast-2-Coast Combat Hour, and also writes for Sherdog while maintaining his own site, The Blogboard Jungle. You can follow him on Twitter @Carbazel